The Basketball Tournament presented by Jack Link’s® Protein Snacks Announces 2016 Field
The Basketball Tournament (TBT) presented by Jack Link’s® Protein Snacks today announced the first 60 of the 64 teams that will compete for $2,000,000 this summer. More than 300 teams applied to play in TBT 2016, featuring more than 400 players with professional experience and 130 with NBA experience, including veterans Mike Bibby and Jason Williams. In all, 135 teams met the eligibility requirements to compete. The final four teams to get in to TBT 2016 will be determined via a first-of-its-kind fundraising contest to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which is going on now exclusively on GoFundMe.com.
Opening rounds of TBT begin July 9-10 in Charlotte and Los Angeles, and continue July 16-17 in Chicago and Philadelphia. TBT returns to Philadelphia for the Super 16 from July 21 through July 23, before moving on to New York City to for the semifinals on July 30 and the $2,000,000 Championship Game on August 2. ESPN will feature live coverage of TBT matchups from the Super 16 onward across their various channels.
“This year’s field is better than ever before,” said TBT Founder/CEO Jon Mugar. “And that’s a good thing, since each of our teams now finds itself 6 wins away from $2 million. Our winner-takes-all championship August 2 on ESPN will truly be the ultimate game 7.”
The region-by-region breakdown is as follows:
WEST (Los Angeles: Cal State LA, July 9-10): A newcomer to TBT 2016, Few Good Men (Gonzaga Alumni) feature former Bulldog greats that span generations of Gonzaga basketball. Highlighting the roster are Dan Dickau, Jeremy Pargo, and Austin Daye. Skinner’s Frate Train (Boston College Alumni) are playing in honor of former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates and to #StrikeOutALS. The core of the 2006 BC Sweet 16 team enters TBT with Tyrese Rice, and Craig Smith highlighting the roster. Named in part after former BC coach Al Skinner, the team will donate a portion of the winnings to the Frates Foundation. LAUNFD, back to back Drew League champions, have entered a star studded team into TBT led by ex NBA players Bobby Brown, Pooh Jeter, Hassan Adams, and Dijon Thompson with Trevor Ariza and actor/comedian Michael Rapaport serving as boosters. Also in the field, are Whistle Sports Dot Squad a team led by NBA impersonator and YouTube sensation Brandon “Bdot” Armstrong that will put the laughs aside for a few to chase a TBT Championship.
SOUTH (Charlotte: Grady Cole Center, July 9-10): The TBT 2015 Champions Overseas Elite will return, and will feature CJ McCollum (booster) joining Errick McCollum, Myck Kabongo and DJ Kennedy, Overseas Elite has loaded up with DeAndre Kane and 7 footer Ryan Richards. Representing the University of Memphis, the Bluff City Blues (Memphis Alumni) featuring Willie Kemp, Adonis Thomas, Wesley Witherspoon, and DJ Stephens have come back together to enter TBT. Trying to recreate some magic in a one and done tournament, Ram Nation (VCU Alumni), the core of the 2011 VCU Final 4 team, has entered TBT. Highlighting the roster is former Milwaukee Bucks big man Larry Sanders, who is prepping for his NBA comeback by playing in TBT. Joey Rodriguez, Brandon Rozell, and Jamie Skeen round out the roster. Cat Pack (Davidson Alumni) a team of players from Steph Curry’s famed alma mater and TMD, led by former Ole Miss Star Marshall Henderson will also be in the field.
NORTHEAST (Philadelphia: Philadelphia University July 16-17): The NE region will include Philadelphia based alumni teams from Villanova, Temple, and La Salle. SuperNova (Villanova Alumni) will consist of the core of the 2009 Nova Final Four team. Returning to TBT for a chance at redemption are the familiar faces of Antonio Pena, Scottie Reynolds, and Reggie Redding. In addition to Philadelphia based alumni teams, former Syracuse players spanning 13 seasons will suit up for Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse Alumni) which includes CJ Fair, Donte Greene, and Eric Devendorf. The 2015 Northeast Regional Champs, City of Gods, will feature former New York Knicks Michael Sweetney and DerMarr Johnson and will be coached by former Washington Wizards coach and Baltimore player development legend Joe Connelly, brother of Denver Nuggets GM Tim, and Pat, Asst GM of the Phoenix Suns. Philadelphia natives Markus and Markieff Morris lead the way for Team FOE with a heavy Kansas influence: Mario Little, and Tyshawn Taylor will suit up while Thomas Robinson mans the sidelines with the Morris twins.
MIDWEST (Chicago: St. Xavier University, July 16-17): Pedro’s Posse, a team featuring Jason “White Chocolate” Williams and Mike Bibby teaming up in the backcourt will draw some attention. In addition to the ex-NBA stars, St. Xavier will play post to alumni teams from the University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, Kansas State University, and Marquette University amongst others. Bluegrass Boys (Kentucky Alumni) are led by former UK walk-on, Mark Krebs Jr. who leads the Bluegrass Boys into TBT with a roster spanning the Tubby Smith and Calipari eras. Highlighting the roster is 2012 National Champion Marquis Teague while Derek Anderson serves as the coach. Calipari himself is featured as a booster. Spartan Heroes (Michigan State Alumni) feature Durrell Summers, Derrick Nix, and Delvon Roe getting the band back together to rep the green and white, with the full support of MSU coach Tom Izzo. Also in the field, former Indiana Hoosiers Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, and Will Sheehey have teamed up on Armored Athlete with former IU teammate and Charlotte Hornets big man Cody Zeller serving as a booster.
Over 350 teams applied to make the 64-team field, with each team consisting of a General Manager (GM), at least seven players, a Booster, and 200+ fan votes. All players must be 18 or older and all games will be played under college rules with two 18-minute halves. 11 teams in each region were automatically selected based on how many votes their team received on TheTournament.com. The others were selected “at-large.”
TBT’s 2015 field included hundreds of players who have competed at the highest levels all over the world. Overseas Elite, a team of veteran international professional players, won last year’s $1 million winner-take-all title at historic Rose Hill Gymnasium. Fans who voted for Overseas Elite shared in the winnings, taking home a combined $50,000 of the grand prize. The Notre Dame Fighting Alumni, a squad made up of some of the best players in University of Notre Dame history, won the inaugural title and $500,000 in 2014.